by: Robert A. Schuller
Well last week
I concluded my message with some words that I want to
begin my message with this morning because it exemplifies
everything about the story that I want to share with you
tat I want you to take with you today. In fact if you
take nothing with you, take this with you and that is
these words: When you’re down to nothing God is
up to something. Did you hear that? When you’re
down to nothing God is up to something. I think I heard
you there. Let me try it one more time. When you’re
down to nothing God is up to something. Absolutely and
that’s important things for us to realize. Now I’m
going to tell you a story today and the story begins in
really by setting the stage and setting the situation.
So I’m going to read the law which took place several
thousand years before Christ and it’s found in Leviticus
fifteen and I’m going to read to you the law.The
woman that I’m going to tell you the story about
is an Israelite so she lives under this law and this is
it: When a women has a discharge of blood for many days
at a time other than her monthly period she will be unclean.
Any bed she lies on will be unclean and anything she sits
on will be unclean. Whoever touches them will be unclean.
He must wash his clothes and bathe with water and he will
be unclean till evening. The law.
A large crowd followed and pressed around Jesus. And a
woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve
years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of
many doctors and had spent all she had yet instead of
getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus
she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak
because she thought if I just touch His clothes I’ll
be healed. Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt
in her body that she was freed from her suffering. And
once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him and
He turned around to the crowd and asked who touched My
clothes? You see the people crowded against around You,
his disciples answered and yet You ask who touched me?
But Jesus kept looking around to see who’d done
it and then the woman, knowing that what had happened
to her, came and fell at His feet and trembled with fear
and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, daughter
your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from
She heard about
Jesus. She believed that Jesus could heal her. She acted
in faith and she received her healing. It begins with
the fact that she heard. The word about Jesus started
spreading around Syria and around Galilee and throughout
the region and people would come from miles and miles
to come and to receive some kind of a healing and people
were following Jesus and they were being healed! And this
woman heard. She heard about Jesus. She heard about the
fact that He could possibly heal her. And it was her last
hope. She was down to nothing. She spent everything she
had on doctors and trying to get well, but to no hope.
She was down to nothing. And when you’re down to
nothing God is up to something. And she heard. And she
got a glimmer of hope. She got a glimmer of hope.
There was a
group of frogs who decided to have a race and on the race
they decided they were going to climb this high tower
and so the word got out that the frogs were racing and
all the frogs of the whole world came to watch this amazing
feat as they scaled this tower. And as they started racing
up this tower everyone started saying, you know it’s
impossible for anyone to reach the top of that tower and
others said look it they can’t possibly succeed;
they’re going to fail. And one by one they would
fall and they shouted oh there goes another one! We knew
it couldn’t happen, it’s impossible. And one
by one they all fell with the exception: One frog made
it to the top. And having made it to the top they interviewed
him. They came up to him and they said so tell me where
did you find the strength to get up to the top of the
tower? He said what? They said, well tell me how did you
get up the tower? I’m sorry I can’t hear you.
I’m deaf. He never heard that it was impossible.
He never heard that others were failing. He never heard
anything accept he saw his goal. He heard that they were
going to have a race to the top and that’s all he
heard. He didn’t hear the negative; he just saw
his goal and he reached for his goal. And he succeeded.
What do you
hear today? When you have nothing and you’re down
to nothing, what do you hear? Do you hear the voices that
say you are nothing, you’re down to nothing, you
have nothing and there is no hope? Or do you hear that
there is possibly a means and a way to succeed? Can you
hear that God is up to something? If you can hear that,
you can pull yourself out of any hole you find yourselves
in today. There is nothing that is impossible with God.
She heard that
Jesus was around. She believed. She believed that if she
could get close enough to Him to touch His garment. Now
think about that for a moment. Let me read the law again.
Whoever touches them will be unclean. He must wash his
clothes and bathe with water and he will be unclean till
evening. And what’s her plan? She’s going
to go and touch Him. Tell me that isn’t gutsy. Because
she knows He’s not going to touch her because he’s
a rabbi. He’s not going to touch her. But maybe
she can touch Him and maybe that’ll work. And she
believed it. St. Paul tells us in Corinthians that we
live by faith and not by sight. We live by faith.
So many people
say you know I’ll believe it when I see it. And
if we wait to see it to believe you’re going to
be waiting a long time because the sight comes to those
who believe and when you believe it then you’ll
see it. This past week I had the privilege of going and
listening to a message by an oilman you might be familiar
with, a name that is quite common. His name is T. Boone
Pickens and he calls himself an oilman and an entrepreneur
and a geologist. Well one of the things I heard him say
as he was addressing a group of about 280 people was that
he’s dug a lot of wells. And you know he said wells,
not all the wells that I dug were successful. I hit dry
wells; in fact I hit a bunch of dry wells. But I believed
in every one. I would never dig a well I didn’t
believe in. I mean that would be ridiculous. But he said
I hit enough of them. I hit some. But I never believed
and never dug, how many would I have hit? He would never
have hit a single well if he didn’t try one of them.
you believe you will see it. She heard, she believed and
she acted. Somehow she was able to press through the crowd.
It was really crowded because even the disciples couldn’t
figure out what in the world He was talking about and
she touched the hem of His garment. Now the hem of His
garment, and the garments that Jesus wore probably not
what you envision. The pictures that you see that depict
the dress of Christ are probably not very accurate. One
of the things we know is that Jesus always wore a prayer
shawl. Every conservative Jew to this day wears the prayer
shawl. It’s the same thing you see with Orthodox
Jews. They still wear them. And that would have been one
of the things that Jesus would have worn. And chances
are she touched the actual tassels on His prayer shawl.
The prayer shawl was called a tallith. And chances are
she touched one of those four tassels. You know every
prayer shawl has four tassels on it. Those tassels are
to remind them of the power of God reaching the four corners
of the earth. Having the ability to do anything. So if
she can touch the tassel of His prayer shawl she could
be healed. She squeezed through the crowd. She touched
I watched a
video yesterday, which was a spoof on Tom Hanks movie
the Castaway. Are you familiar with that movie? In the
Castaway Tom Hanks is lost for several years. He’s
in a FedEx plane, and the FedEx plane does down, there’s
all these FedEx packages around there and he finds a volleyball
made by Wilson so that’s his name. His friend is
Wilson, a volleyball. And the movie goes on and he’s
finally rescued and there is a package that he decided
he was going to bring back to a woman. So he goes and
he brings this package back to this woman and says I’ve
been stranded on this island for all these years and I
wanted to give it to you and it’s kind of like the
culmination of the movie. Well that’s the spoof.
The spoof on Tom Hanks. So this man comes walking up to
this door and he’s got a big long beard. It looks
like he’s just got off the island, but he’s
got a FedEx shirt on and he’s holding a FedEx box
and he hands this FedEx box to this lady and she goes
oh thank you! And she opened it up right away, she goes
oh good my satellite phone and my fishing hooks and fishing
line and my lighter and my.. and she kept pulling out
all of these things that could have made life so much
comfortable. And you see the man’s expression just.
That’s the spoof on Tom Hanks or I should say on
have for you is this: How many FedEx packages are sitting
around our feet and you’ve never opened them? You’re
down to nothing and God sends you blessings but you don’t
have enough faith to open the box. And inside is everything
you need to give you the hope, to give you the vision,
to give you a map, to give you the direction, to give
you what you need to climb from nothing to something.
Because when you’re down to nothing God is up to
something. She heard it. She believed it. She acted and
she received it. She was healed and Jesus felt this power
leave Him and He whirled around and He says who touched
Me? And His disciples are going: are you kidding Jesus?
You know look at all these people around You. You want
to know who touched You? He goes yes, somebody touched
Me in faith. With faith they touched Me and they were
healed. And seeing the woman He said your faith has made
you well, go in peace. And she was healed.
She was healed
in every way. She was healed physically. Which then opened
the door so she could go to her temple. She wasn’t
able to go to her temple for twelve years. She wasn’t
able to touch anyone for twelve years. She wasn’t
able to embrace her husband, her children, her grandchildren.
She wasn’t able to embrace her parents, her friends.
She’s totally cut off from society in every way.
Physically she was healed, which then healed her socially,
which at the same time healed her spiritually. And Jesus
said to her, go forth in peace. Shalom. Shalom.
Today I encourage
you to come before God in prayer. Wherever your needs
are, whatever your frustrations are, whatever you are
struggles are, whatever you are today just remember this:
When you’re down to nothing God’s up to something.
And as a result of that He is going to bless us in some
way. We just need to open our ears and hear. Open our
hearts and believe. Open our hands and act. Open our hearts
and receive. Receive His blessings today. He wants to
heal you spiritually, emotionally and physically. And
God is in the process of doing that all the time.
So I encourage
you to pray. I pray for hundreds of people every week.
I get cards, a stack of cards from when our prayer Sundays
they keep coming in. I get hundreds of them every week.
I go online and I pray for people on our website and I
can’t begin to tell you how many people are struggling
financially, physically, relationally. And this woman
had it all. She had lost everything to doctors. She’d
lost her health. She’d lost her relationships. And
she was lost spiritually. And she had enough faith to
simply reach out and everything changed.
And the same
thing is true with you. If you will reach out to Jesus
in prayer everything will change. Because when you’re
down to nothing God is up to something. Don’t ever
forget it. Carry it with you always and remember this